Comedian Jeff Foxworthy once described Utah’s seasons as “almost winter,” “winter,” “still winter” and “road construction.”
Road construction season is beginning — and the Utah Department of Transportation on Wednesday listed its Top 10 projects for the year. They are just the featured items among 169 projects overall statewide this year. costing more than a combined $2.1 billion.
“We need to make these improvements to keep traffic flowing as our state grows,” said Jason Davis, deputy director of UDOT. “Be safe out there. Pay attention. We have a lot of crashes in our work zones. We want the people traveling through them to be safe and also want our workers to be safe.”
The Top 10 includes four major projects along Interstate 15 on the Wasatch Front — including creating some collector lanes near Midvale, similar to collector lanes now between 2100 South and downtown Salt Lake City.
Davis says he realizes so many projects along that freeway “is kind of a burden” for drivers, “but without construction and improvements, we eventually get bogged down and we become California — and we have those traffic jams that none of us like to be stuck in.”
Following are the Top 10 state highway projects for the year:
• Mountain View Corridor. A $335 million project will extend the new highway from 4100 South to State Road 201.
“It will give Mountain View that much needed east-west freeway connection” with SR-201, said Codee Raymond, UDOT’s resident engineer for the project.
It will include two lanes in each direction. “It will have 13 bridges, six pedestrian bridges and a trail system — just like other sections of Mountain View has,” he added.
Construction began last week and is expected to continue through summer of 2021. Raymond said much of the new highway will be elevated, requiring 2.5 million cubic yards of fill material — the equivalent of filling both the football stadiums at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University to the top.
• I-15 express lanes in Davis and Weber counties. The $169 million project will widen I-15 to four lanes in both directions by adding express lanes between Hill Field Road and Riverside Road. Construction starts this month and will last through 2020.
That will complete 80 miles of express lanes on I-15. “That is the longest continuous express lane system in the country,” Davis said.
• I-15 northbound from 9400 South to Interstate 215. The $165 million project will add a new collector distributor ramp system, similar to those from 900 South to 2100 South in Salt Lake City.
“It is a benefit to keep the through-traffic on I-15, and keep the kind of side traffic [entering and exiting the freeway] on the collector system,” Davis said, noting the area has had some of the worst congestion in the state.
The project will also add a new northbound lane from Bangerter Highway to 9400 South. The project is scheduled for completion next year.
• I-15 Technology Corridor in Lehi. UDOT is in the second of a three-year, $415 million project to widen the freeway from State Road 92 to Main Street in Lehi.
It is being widened to six lanes in both directions, and interchanges are being reconstructed.
• I-15 southbound in Salt Lake County. Work will continue on a $180 million widening project. Crews have already opened a lane from 7800 South to 12300 South. This year, the new lane will be extended from 12300 South to 2100 South.
Also, southbound ramps on the I-15/I-215 interchange in Murray will be reconstructed to help traffic flow more efficiently between the two freeways. Construction is scheduled through 2020.
• U.S. 40 in Wasatch County. The $37 million project is extending a westbound passing lane by five miles near Strawberry Reservoir and repaving another 18-mile section from Daniel’s Summit to Soldier Creek. Wildlife crossings will also be added. Completion is scheduled in summer 2020.
• Interstate 80 bridge replacements in Tooele County. Work continues on the $37 million project that began last year to replace the State Road 36 ramp bridge over I-80 plus two I-80 bridges over railroad tracks. Work is scheduled to finish in 2020.
“It’s just a matter of those structures have outlived their lifespan, so we have to replace them,” Davis said.
• Southern Parkway in Washington County. A final $75 million segment of the Southern Parkway will extend from Sand Hollow to State Road 9. Once complete, the parkway will run 27 miles from I-15 south of St. George to SR-9 near Hurricane. Construction will continue through 2020.
• I-15 Exit 16 in Washington County. The $29 million project is rebuilding the I-15 interchange at SR-9, including widening both roads, to improve access to northern Washington County and Zion National Park. Work is scheduled to be completed this fall.
• I-80 repairs in Salt Lake County. A $3 million project will replace bridge joints at several locations between State Street and 1300 East. It is expected to cause moderate to heavy delays at nights and on weekends as work will close several lanes. Work begins later this spring and will finish in summer.
Clarification: UDOT officials say the total cost of all 169 projects this year will be $2.1 billion, but that will be spent over several years as they progress. An earlier version said that was the cost of the Top 10 projects.